Tropical Storm Michael Moves Near Western Cuba

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Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

According to the National Hurricane Center, steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend coastal region of northern Florida. This could lead to life-threatening flash flooding in some areas. "You can not hide from this storm".

Scott encouraged residents in the path of the storm to prepare now, and directed everyone to visit to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

"We are running out of time. This is game time", Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. This storm does not pose a threat to Florida or the USA, but swells generated by Leslie continue to create life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Landfall is imminent on the Florida Panhandle coast Wednesday afternoon.

Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible in western Cuba. "Areas hit hard by Florence may face disruptions to ongoing cleanup efforts or renewed flooding depending on the track of the storm", AccuWeather senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane as of the 2 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm at 8 a.m. was travelling with 35-mph winds.

FEMA administrator Brock Long said the agency was prepared for the storm in all the states likely to feel Michael's impact.

Though forecasters expect the hurricane to hit the Panhandle, the storm may "affect portions of the Florida Gulf Coast that are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storms exact track or intensity". Gillum had planned to campaign Monday and Tuesday in South Florida. "They are their best first responders".

A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwannee River. As the storm develops there could be an impact to cruise itineraries and major destinations. Plus, an area of high pressure just off the southeast USA coast will guide Michael around the periphery to the northeast into the Florida panhandle. A lot of seaweed was washing on to shore, she said, and the county started closing beach ramps to driving earlier because of the high tide.